Originally published at Taya Valkyrie discusses free agency, her IMPACT Wrestling run
If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.
** Taya Valkyrie was the focus of a recent Highspots Network virtual signing. She departed IMPACT Wrestling after being with the company since 2017. Taya spoke about her free agency when asked if she would prefer to land in WWE or AEW.
“Well, I really enjoy both products. Obviously I’m a wrestling fan, always have been. There’s a lot of people that get into wrestling are wrestling fans, surprise, and honestly, I don’t know what’s gonna happen next for me because as a lot of people don’t realize is that I have been signed for about eight and a half years from AAA into Lucha Underground into IMPACT and this is actually my first-ever time in my career as a free agent. So, it’s a really important time for me to really think about what’s important for me, for my family and make the best decision moving forward for my career. So, we will see. It will all play out, don’t worry.”
The former Knockouts Champion spoke highly of her time in IMPACT Wrestling. She stated that the backstage environment was always positive and it was one of the more fun stretches of her career.
“I mean, that was one of the most fun times of my career because all the women, the comradery that we have, all the guys, like everyone gets along and everyone’s having fun and everyone’s really there to make it work and make a product that’s authentic to us and those players that are in that roster, you know what I mean? So, everyone that’s backstage to like the writers, they are so trusting in us to — like they don’t tell me, ‘Well Taya, say this.’ It’s like, ‘This is the message that we need you to do but say it however Taya would say it.’ Like they really trusted us and it creates, gives us all the opportunity to grow so much more creatively I think and they trust us to make the right decisions for who we are because nobody knows Taya more than I do and I really am thankful that I worked for a company like that and especially during that time when I was coming off this really long stint in Mexico and heavily influenced with Lucha Libre, to kind of get more accustomed to the American style and how that works. So yeah.”
Taya named several talents from AEW and WWE that she’d like to wrestle and that list included Kris Statlander, Britt Baker, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Io Shirai.
“Well, I have never wrestled Kris Statlander, which I think would be — call her up. I’ve never wrestled her. Is that weird? There’s somebody like that too that I’ve never wrestled before. I don’t know. Even someone like Britt Baker, I’ve only ever been in a tag match with her for like — I think we were against each other for like two seconds. There was never any sort of actual, you know, interaction there so I would love to face both of them. I would love to face obviously some people like Charlotte before one time in STARDOM and I would like to wrestle her again. So those are kind of my current top chicks if I had to pick.”
** WWE United States Champion Bobby Lashley appeared on ESPN’s Cheap Heat podcast with Peter Rosenberg. Lashley dove into Undertaker’s recent comments about the WWE locker room of today being “soft”. Lashley stated that he agrees with Undertaker’s comments and explained why:
“Yeah, I don’t wanna say I agree with him completely — actually I can because it’s Taker. I can say I agree with him. So I agree with him. You know what? That’s what The Hurt Business is about. I mean that’s why we came about because we were like, ‘What are we?’ And I was like, ‘We’re different from this generation.’ Our generation came up — when I was in OVW about to go up on the road, everybody was warning us. They were like, ‘Man, you know JBL, you got Chris Benoit, you have Bob Holly, you have Undertaker, you have Booker T.’ All these guys, not one of these guys are punks. Fit Finlay, want guys in the locker room crying. We don’t want guys that are always b*tching and bellyaching and everything like that. We beat ‘em up and we kick ‘em out, and some of the guys when we do that in the ring, you can do your little flippies and jumpies and all that stuff. I’m just gonna grab you, throw you down and beat you up.”
Lashley is a member of The Hurt Business and on the topic of adding members to the group, two female talents that he specifically mentioned were Naomi and Mickie James.
“Well, first I’ll answer that two parts. The first part is we don’t necessarily need anyone, because, I mean, we have everything that it takes to get everything that we want. However, I think there’s some people on the roster that have kind of the same mentality that we have, that older school mentality. There’s a lot of names that have been thrown out, male and female. I like ‘em both. There’s a lot of names that have been thrown out. Mickie James came back with our era, so Mickie James has that old Hurt Business style from before. You have Naomi, she has that whoop a girl up attitude also, and there’s a lot of people on the guys side, there’s a lot of guys out there that kind of have that thought. We always hear people come to us and say, ‘Hey man, I wanna be a part of The Hurt Business.’ Whether they’re joking around or not, I think they’re really serious.”
The United States Title has been in Lashley’s possession since August of 2020. He feels that there will come a day when he puts the U.S. Title aside and goes after a world title.
“This time is a good time and I think WWE understands that and I think there’s gonna be some big things coming for The Hurt Business. Even though we have almost all the titles, I think there might be a time where that United States Title kinda moves over and then I go searching for the big one.”
** NJPW1972.com ran part two of their interview with IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion Kota Ibushi. During the chat, Ibushi stated that he wants a new Heavyweight Title design.
“I do. I want one championship belt that brings the two together.
That’s right. I want there to just be one title. I don’t know about the specifics, but I want the IWGP name to remain, and a new championship. Things are changing, and I really want a new belt for a new era.”
While speaking about SANADA who Ibushi will be defending the double titles against on 2/11, Ibushi agreed with the sentiment that SANADA is missing that one piece to the puzzle and maybe it has to do with SANADA being so good at everything that he’ll never be great.
“Yeah, I get that feeling. He’s missing something, I’m just not sure what that is.
I really can’t . The thing with him is that when you’re good at everything, like I said, you’re great at nothing. That’s his problem, I think.”
** CBS Sports caught up with the 2021 men’s Royal Rumble winner Edge. In that same Rumble match, Christian made his in-ring return and Edge opened up about Christian getting cleared and what it meant to him to see his longtime friend back in the ring.
“Even just going back to last year and finding out that I was cleared, to the point where we found out that he was cleared and the Rumble last year and now it’s the Rumble this year, the last year and a month at this point has been unexplainable. I’ve given up trying to because I can’t properly articulate it. It just at times doesn’t feel real. I still expect to wake up and think, ‘That was an amazing dream!’ But it is happening, and I’m learning to accept that it is happening and enjoy it and live it and live in the present of this thing that shouldn’t be happening but is. I need to just enjoy it. Hopefully the audience can understand that you’ve got guys who are just loving what they’re doing. Hopefully that translates, and hopefully you can feel how much we love to be able to do this again when we thought it was taken away from us — whether it’s from the look in our eyes, the smiles on our faces or the stories we’re trying to craft.
The Rumble was one of those instances where, when Christian was coming down the ramp, I was so happy for him. I was so proud of him and proud of the work he put in and the grind and struggle to get cleared and be able to do this again. Similar to me, he can end it on his terms and not just have it taken away when you don’t expect it. That’s a hard thing to swallow, and now we have a chance to have that not be the case, and that’s just really special.”
Edge stated during the interview that he’s not back to do a ‘greatest hits tour’. He didn’t know he’d be working back to get in the position that he’s in now but if him challenging for a world championship at WrestleMania helps the overall product, he’s game.
“I didn’t come back to just do a greatest hits tour. That’s not why I came back. I didn’t just want to do regurgitated greatest hits. I wanted to come back because I wanted to tell compelling stories. I wanted to get in with a lot of talent so that… if I could impart wisdom from 29 years of doing this, in terms of trying to tell a story, that’s really exciting for me. I love so much of this talent, and it’s exciting to be able to get in with them. Did I necessarily know that I was going to try to work toward WrestleMania? No. A lot of those things are out of your hands. I did know I was going to put the work in to be able to do it if called upon. That’s part of my responsibility in coming back, as well.
I don’t just want to be another body. I want to be able to help, and to help the totality of the industry if I can. If that means that this year Edge main events WrestleMania? Ok. I will do my part to make that happen and make it as compelling as I possibly can. But I also want to get in there with loads of talent. My goal is to come back and tell great stories in the main event of WrestleMania or on Raw, whatever it is. I came back committed to this. After my family, this is my top priority. If I’m asked to be in a title program heading into WrestleMania? I’m here every week. That’s the way I operate. I’m not going to be a guy who comes in for one week and floats off for eight weeks. If I’m involved and I’m in the mix, I’m going to be here every week because that’s how I operate.”
** According to PWInsider, WWE is planning for more Bad Bunny appearances. He was featured on the 2/1 episode of RAW alongside the debuting Damian Priest.
** Adam Maxted chatted with Ringsiders Wrestling and he shared that WWE was interested in bringing him to the NXT UK brand in 2018 but he was under contract with the New Generation Wrestling promotion in England. Maxted did have a WWE tryout and remained in contact with William Regal.
“Canyon Ceman is there and from NGW and said, ‘Look, WWE wants me now. That’s my dream, so do you mind?’ But, I kinda just thought, ‘Look, they’ve been good to me. At the time, they were giving me a wage every month, NGW, and I thought, ‘At least see out the terms of the contract and then just be respectful to that,’ whereas I feel other people would have just said, ‘Thanks guys, but I’m out of here.’ But, that company is the reason why I was able to wrestle so much which then helped me improve so much which is why WWE saw that and they were interested in me so, obviously I’m still getting a — still getting an income until the pandemic hit and obviously, everything went up so part of me is like, ‘Oh, if I had just signed with WWE, I would have had this money coming in’ but, I wouldn’t have been the wrestler that I was back then, so everything happens for a reason. I’ve had all those reps now and you know, I had a contract offer, actually recently with the company again so I feel like stuff will happen so and like I say, everything happens for a reason and stuff.”
Continuing on the subject of his contact with Regal, Maxted stated that the company still does have interest in bringing him in.
“Yeah, that was cool and like to give him credit, I have kept in touch with him and sent him some matches and things. I can email Mr. Regal, within five minutes he’ll email me back, you know what I mean? And he’s a busy guy but he’ll always get back to me within like ten or 15 minutes. There’s an email, reply from whatever I sent to him so, it’s just cool that I’ve got sort of someone as respected as him in the business that is sort of seen something in me and believes in me and they want to bring me in and that has been cool.”
** Drew McIntyre wrote a memoir that’s being released on May 4th 2021. It’s titled ‘A Chosen Destiny’.
** Following her 2021 women’s Royal Rumble match win, Bianca Belair spoke with Complex. She opened up about her moment with Montez Ford where they embraced each other after Bianca’s win.
“It’s just amazing that I’m doing this alongside the person I love. And to be able to have your husband standing there as soon as you walk through the curtain, he’s the first person you can go to. I just went to him and I hugged him and we really didn’t say much at first, we just embraced each other and then we prayed. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t find my words. It’s bringing tears to my eyes thinking about it, but I couldn’t find my words. And the only thing that I could think in that moment was to pray. So we hugged and I just looked up at him and I said, ‘Can we pray?’ I couldn’t find the words but he prayed. He prayed with me. He prayed for me. And that was the moment that we shared after the match.”
** AEW’s Max Caster was a guest on F4WOnline’s Left My Wallet show and he stated that he does not like when people refer to his on-screen persona as a character.
“First of all, thank you for saying it’s not a character. It’s not a gimmick. I get really upset when people call it that because it’s not. This is exactly what I would be doing if I wasn’t a professional wrestler, if I wasn’t on TV or in front of crowds. I would still be rapping and I would be trying to bother people. Those are my two loves in life, aside from wrestling is trolling people and making music.”
** Former WWE sales executive Dave Riggs is joining the eSports organization Panda Global. Riggs also worked as a front office member for the XFL Chicago Enforcers.
** Hardcore Holly was the focus of the latest Grilling JR podcast. Jim Ross recalled being in a meeting when Holly pitched himself to win the world championship. Ross stated that Holly pitched himself well but wasn’t able to close the deal.
“Yeah, well, he pitched himself for a promotion. That’s all that was. It wasn’t like it was some crazy ass idea. It was a little crazy, no doubt about it but for a talent to command that platform, to get people’s attention about the idea that he had was pretty good salesmanship. He just didn’t close the deal.”
At the 2004 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Hardcore Holly challenged Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship. This was following up on the match that Holly and Lesnar had during which Lesnar broke Holly’s neck. Holly didn’t get much offense in during their Royal Rumble bout and Ross believes that while Lesnar respected his opponent as a man, he didn’t view Holly as an on-par competitor.
“Yeah, it could’ve been a lot better executed and I think Bob is right. At the time, whoever was in Brock’s ear was telling him that, ‘Bob Holly wasn’t to your level, don’t give him too much, don’t be too liberal with what you provide him,’ too generous Secretariat, so you got a young stud, you know it’s gonna be great. Look at how that worked out.”
For a portion of his career, Hardcore Holly teamed with Crash Holly. Ross went on to describe the relationship between the two:
“Well, about as gonna get along with anybody. I think Bob tolerated Crash well. He was younger and mischievous and living his dream and having the time of his life by and large for being in WWE then lo and behold becoming a tag team champion. So I think they got along okay, Conrad. As far as I know, I don’t remember — I’m sure there were times going forward if I had to put the gun to my head and I would say, ‘Welp, that one time, Bob said he was gonna kill him’ and we talked that through and the decision to murder was omitted from the equation.”
** IWTV announced their partnership with Pluto TV. Available now on the Pluto TV service is Beyond Wrestling’s Uncharted Territory Season 1, Women’s Wrestling Revolution’s entire library and DEFY Wrestling’s ‘DEFY Now’.
** South China Morning Post conducted an interview with Lilian Garcia. Garcia will be the cage announcer for the upcoming season of the PFL.
** Ringsiders Wrestling welcomed Petey Williams onto their show. As the conversation rolled on, Petey spoke in detail about his pairing with Scott Steiner and how they came to be. He shared that when they first met, Steiner attempted to bully him but he stood his ground.
“ ideas for you and Steiner,’ all this kind of stuff and he was just going on and on and they said, ‘Later on down the line, I see you guys making a good team and stuff like that.’ Well instantly, they had us feud for like a month or two and then instantly we were a team.”
** NXT’s Joaquin Wilde and his significant other welcomed their daughter into the world.
** According to Showbuzz Daily, the 1/30 episode of WWE Backstage on FS1 brought in 156,000 viewers and did an .04 in the 18-49 demographic. The show was to promote the Royal Rumble event and hosting the special was Renee Paquette, Paige and Booker T.
** John Cena appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and stated that he will be back in WWE when possible. Cena is currently filming the Peacemaker film. He recently did an interview and said that there’s no mathematical way for him to be at WrestleMania.
“Yeah, I will. I just unfortunately, you know, the state of the world. I mean, I’m not sitting on the couch next to you. It’s a difficult and unpredictable time and right now, I’m filming this. I’m filming Peacemaker and that’s gonna take a lot of my time and I can’t bounce back and forth due to international restrictions so at least for the time being, I’m here and I’m still away from WWE but I very much look forward to returning as soon as I possibly can.”
** 35 years ago today, Gino Hernandez tragically died at the age of 28.
** Austin Aries will have his first match since 2019 on 2/20. He’ll be competing for the Global Syndicate Wrestling promotion and taking on Alexander Hammerstone for the GSW World Championship.
** Rochester City Newspaper covered Big E promoting the Foodlink non-profit organization. New Day sported Jon Huber (Brodie Lee/Luke Harper) tribute gear at the Royal Rumble and Foodlink was one of Huber’s favorite charitable organizations. Mark Dwyer, communications manager for Foodlink spoke about the signal boost from New Day.
** WWE is putting out a new episode of ‘Untold’ about The A.P.A. (Ron Simmons & John Bradshaw Layfield). Below is a preview:
** GHC Heavyweight Champion Go Shiozaki spoke with Yahoo! Japan.
** Jordan Oliver is taking on the Sentai Death Squad on the 2/3 episode of MLW FUSION.
** Hornswoggle and his ACW promotion based in Wisconsin were profiled by WeAreGreenBay.com.
** Former 10-time WCW World Tag Team Champion Stevie Ray appeared on the Keepin It 100 with Konnan podcast.
** Part one of Shane “Hurricane” Helms’ on the Culture State podcast.
** FOX Sports conducted an interview with Ring of Honor’s Slex.
** Bell To Belles has an interview with NXT UK’s Nina Samuels.
** NJPW Road to New Beginning Results (2/2/21) Korakuen Hall
– Gabriel Kidd vs. Yota Tsuji
– Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Yuya Uemura
– Master Wato, Tomoaki Honma, SHO & Kota Ibushi def. BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA
– Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Jay White, Tanga Loa, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) def. Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada
** Alicia Atout pushed out her interview with Carlito.
** Here are the results from the 2/1 episode of ROH TV:
– ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham (c) def. Joe Keys
– Matt Taven & Mike Bennett def. The Bouncers (Brian Milonas & The Beer City Bruiser)
** Rob Schamberger’s latest Canvas 2 Canvas episode is about Drew McIntyre.
** Maryland Championship Wrestling uploaded a clip to their YouTube channel of Sting’s appearance for the promotion.
** Here’s the official trailer for the RetroMania Wrestling video game:
** Brian Cage turned 37-years old on 2/2. Charlie Evans has a birthday today and turned 24.
** The following video is from the UpUpDownDown YouTube channel:
If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.